The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Falls

    12
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Groped

    9
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Giardia

    8
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1